These Vikings don’t sail ... they swim

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POULSBO — The North Kitsap Vikings swim team claimed its water territory like a pack of sharks against Klahowya.

On Thursday, at the North Kitsap Community Pool, the Vikes opened their season with a 122-39 victory over the Eagles, winning all but one race.

In nearly every event the Vikes took the lead right off the blocks, as their dives sailed them almost a yard further than the rest of the pack. They looked like graceful mermaids, dolphin kicking their way to the lead, before surfacing and attacking their strokes with piranha ferocity. The Vikes consistently picked up a few strokes lead on their turns, to win by close to a pool’s length in most races.

“I told all of the girls I’m so proud of them and how they’ve done,” said assistant coach Norene Reeves. “I’m proud of them for their effort, team spirit and watching them become a family and supporting each other.”

Head coach Greg Braun was uber-enthused, as a number of returning swimmers finished their season-opening races as fast or faster than their times at the end of last season.

The stories coming out of Thursday’s competition belonged to senior captain Ingrid Reeves and the nine newbie swimmers.

Thursday was the first meet ever for the nine beginners. Norene Reeves said some of the newcomers couldn’t complete an entire competitive swim distance when they first hit the water. On Thursday they were nervous, but they did it. They swam their races, some of them finishing the distances for the first time.

“They started as non-swimmers and today they realized they’re swimmers,” she said. “That’s a big thing. That’s a milestone.”

Veteran swimmer Ingrid Reeves, who doubles as Norene Reeves’ daughter, always led by a pool’s length in her races. Similar to her teammates, she took the lead on the dive in and gained on her turns, all while battling a right upper rib/shoulder injury that will require surgery.

Norene Reeves, said doctors wanted to do surgery in August, but Ingrid is holing fast until December, as it was her dream to make it through all four years of her high school swim competitions.

Ingrid even swam the 100-yard butterfly, a race she hadn’t swam in two years. She finished the race in 1 minute 15 seconds, which was just three seconds off her best time from the last time she swam the race.

“Her starts and her turns are really quite good. She gets good streamline coming off the wall,” Braun said. “She’s got a lot of confidence when she’s swimming.”

The Vikings take on Kingston at 3 p.m. Sept. 18 at the NK pool.

Until then Braun said North’s swimmers will work on cleaning up their turns and dives, as they can get further off the wall using the dolphin kick and not taking a breath in the first stroke off the wall.

Stats: 200-medley relay: first place, NK Lindsey Thornell, Ingrid Reeves, Bethany Aban, Sarah Waderich, 2:13.69; 200-free: first place, NK Stephanie Longmate, 2:03.41; 200-individual medley: first place, NK Ingrid Reeves, 2:36.91; 50-free: first place, NK Bethany Aban, 26.84; 100-fly: first place, NK Ingrid Reeves, 1:15.50; 100-free: first place, NK Jordan Anderson, 1:11.51; 500-free: first place, NK Stephanie Longmate, 5:28.7; 200-freestyle relay: first place, NK Sarah Waderich, Andrea Coyle, Alyssa Villareal, Jordan Anderson, 2:06.89; 100-back: first place, NK Bethany Aban, 1:05.82; 100-breast: first place, KL Teresa Sheets, 1:27.10; 400-free relay: first place, NK Stephanie Longmate, Ingrid Reeves, Kathryn Surber, Bethany Aban, 4:18.70.

On Thursday the Vikes take on Kingston at 3 p.m.

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